From Cecile Oreste of danceDC
ArtJamz hosted a session last Thursday and Friday at Lamont Bishop Gallery on 9th Street NW. Borderstan reached out to Founder Michael M. Clements to learn more. For additional information about ArtJamz, visit their website.
Borderstan: How would you describe ArtJamz to someone who has never experienced it?
Clements: ArtJamz is a simple idea. We get anywhere from 15 to 50 people together to eat, drink and create. Each person gets an easel and paints, a canvas they get to paint and take home, and lots of wine, beer, good food and music. I can also tell you what ArtJamz ISN’T… it’s not a class. There is no structure. No teachers. People are encouraged to simply create. But our hosts are always around to give some inspiration.
See photos from last Thursday’s ArtJamz session at Lamont Bishop Gallery.
Borderstan: How did ArtJamz get started?
Clements: ArtJamz was the first project of my company Genki Media LLC. Our mission is to incubate creative businesses. In short, I was tired of the creative scene never being participatory. There was “the artist” and “the viewer” as if the creative community didn’t trust people in D.C. to be creative. They were essentially saying, “leave the creative stuff to us, you just come and watch, and if you can, please, buy something.” I wanted to flip the script and let the audience be the artist. Empower people to tap into their creative sides.
Borderstan: What makes the Shaw neighborhood one of the most creative corridors in D.C.?
Clements: It was really one of the first “off the grid” creative spots in D.C. It started with skaters squatting and creating “Fight Club” in Blagden Alley. One World Studio also in the alley is one of the few practice studios in D.C., and now Long View Gallery and Lamont Bishop Gallery are bringing cutting edge work, focusing on local artists. On the other side of the convention center, The Passenger and the Columbia Room are extremely creative F&B concepts, and RJ Cooper, previously of Vidalia, will be opening his boutique restaurant concept Rogue 24 soon in Blagden Alley.